- Kiyohime by Kokei Kobayashi
鐘に怨みは数々ござる 初夜の鐘をつく時は 諸行無常とひびくなり 後夜の鐘をつく時は 是生滅法とひびくなり 晨朝の響きには生滅々為 入相は寂滅為楽とひびけども 聞いて驚く人も無し われは五障の雲晴れて 真如の月を眺め明かさん
言はず語らず我が心 乱れし髪の乱るるも つれないは只移り気な どうでも男は悪性な 桜々とうたはれて 言うて袂のわけ二つ 勤めさへただうかうかと どうでも女子は悪性な 吾妻そだちは蓮葉なものじゃえ
恋のわけ里数へ数へりゃ 武士も道具を伏編笠で 張りと意気地の吉原 花の都は歌で和らぐ敷島原に 勤めする身は誰と伏見の墨染 煩悩菩提の撞木町より 浪花四筋に通ひ木辻の禿立ちから 室の早咲きそれがほんの色ぢゃ 一い二う三い四 夜露雪の日下の関路を ともにこの身を馴染みかさねて 中は円山ただまるかれと 思い染めたが縁じゃえ
Today, I would like to introduce you to the background and story of a famous Japanese Traditional Dance called, Kane ga Misaki or Cape of the Bell.
The story is based on a famous noh play called Dojoji. Have you heard of it?
It was so successful that it was made into a kabuki play, a joruri or puppet play, a jiuta or shamisen music that developed in the western Japan, and a Ryukyu Kumiodori or Okinawan music play.
The story line goes like this.
Anchin, a handsome young monk from northeast region of Japan once visited Kumano, a known spiritual ground in western Japan. On the way to the shrine, he came across a young maiden, Kiyohime, a daughter of a wealthy merchant in the Kumano area.
Kiyohime fell in love with Anchin, and she stole into his sleeping room at the inn at night.
Anchin who was unable to reject her right away, told her that he will visit her after he visited the shrine, which he did not do and left on his journey.
Kiyohime, who realized that she was told a lie and was scorned, became angry and followed Anchin on his way to the Dojoji Temple.
He did not take her seriously, and magically bound her hands and feet using the power of Kumano Gongen or the God of Kumano. This made Kiyohime furious and she changed into a snake and followed Anchin, blowing fire from her mouth.
Anchin ran into Dojoji Temple and hid in a bell. Kiyohime entwined herself around the bell, and burned Anchin to death. Then she jumped into the river to die.
Later, a shirabyoshi, or a female dancer in Heian period, visited the temple during a memorial service of the bell.
She, the incarnation of Kiyohime, approached the bell, dancing and singing. Then she jumped into the bell and it fell on the ground.
The monks struggled to turn the bell upright and then the shirabyoshi appeared in the form of a snake.
Infuriated by being deserted by a man, she blew fire and wildly ran about. Eventually she became impatient of the monks prayers and jumped into the water to disappear.
All the plays feature the later story of Shirabyoshi, which is based on the legend of Anchin and Kiyohime.
This October, I am going to perform Kane ga Misaki, or the Cape of the Bell, which is interpreted from Dojoji into a piece of jiuta shamisen music, accompanied by koto and singing.
In this piece, the shirabyoshi, although she is the incarnation of Kiyohime, dances her love and pity in the midst of the transience of life, as if she is purified from all her emotion.
I hope to portray not only her bitterness, but something like her determination to transcend her destiny.
Here is the lyrics of the piece:
Resentment seethes when I see the Bell. When I ring the bell in the evening, it resounds that everything changes. When I ring the bell at midnight, it resounds that this is the law of arising and ceasing. The bell in the dawn resounds that you should resign even this arising and ceasing. The bell in the next evening resounds that then you will see the true serenity and enlightenment. However, there is nobody that is surprised to hear this. I feel that my karmic clouds are released and I see my moon of enlightenment through the night.
How long have I spend time in this village of romance? Even samurais turn down their swords under their woven hats in this Yoshiwara, famous for prides and spirits of ladies. Under the snowy evening dew, I go through the frosty path to see my beloved whom I became attached over the years. Over the Mt. Maru, I pray only that our relationship is peaceful and quiet. It is the En or divine connection that I start to love you.
Thank you for reading!